Wrapped in a soft green cloak of ancient memories, Ireland is one of the most beautiful and fascinating small countries in the world. Cast adrift in the Atlantic Ocean to the west of Britain, this jewel of an island has become one of Europe’s most desirable addresses for those wishing to swap the stresses of city life for old-fashioned rural bliss.
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But why does Ireland exert such a pull on our imagination?

After all, anywhere that goes by the name of “the Emerald Isle” certainly didn’t get all its lush green meadows through having cloudless blue skies and unlimited sunshine. It has to be said that they don’t boast of having the world’s most glorious weather.

But constant sunshine isn’t everything – Irish universities rank impressively well at world level, and the country is understandably a popular choice for international students. Ireland’s seven public universities are all ranked within the world’s top 700 in the 2012/13 QS World University Rankings, as is one of the 14 institutes of technology. Three make the top 200: Trinity College Dublin (TCD) at 67, University College Dublin (UCD), 131, and University College Cork, 190.

This varied selection of higher education institutes combines with historic cities, beautiful countryside and Ireland’s unique culture to make the country a highly attractive study destination.

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Sources: transitionsabroad; topuniversities;